12/23/2012 12:14:00 AM Denver 3, Sundogs 1 Denver puts an end to Sundogs' bid for 3 straight
Hector Acevedo/CourtesyCutthroats players celebrate during their 3-1 win over the Sundogs Saturday night in Denver. After losing their first three games against Arizona early in the season, the expansion Cutthroats have won four of the last five meetings head-to-head.
The Daily Courier
The Sundogs strung together a season-high three-game winning streak Nov. 7, 9 and 10 in a sweep of the Denver Cutthroats at Tim's Toyota Center.
Saturday night in front of 2,709 fans at Denver Coliseum, Arizona was going for another three-game winning streak with the Cutthroats again in their way.
Only this time, the hosts said "no dice."
Denver scored two goals on its first eight shots of regulation and went on to defeat the Sundogs, 3-1, and abruptly end their modest two-game winning streak.
The Cutthroats recorded their 12th home win, tying them with the Central Hockey League-leading Wichita (Kan.) Thunder for the most home victories during the 2012-13 season thus far.
Denver raced to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from forward A.J. Gale, the league's second leading scorer, who finished with two scores on the night, and defenseman Joel Chouinard.
Gale scored on assists from Troy Schwab and Brad Smyth 8 minutes and 21 seconds into the opening frame, while Chouinard lit the lamp on a helper from Chris Greene at the 12-minute mark. Smyth concluded the evening with two assists.
The score remained 2-0 deep into the third period before Sundogs leading scorer Chad Nehring, a forward with 24 points, ended the shutout by knocking in his team-best 12th goal of the campaign with 2:06 remaining.
However, Arizona would get no closer.
With the Cutthroats leading 2-1 late in the contest, Gale tallied an empty-netter with 6 seconds to go.
The Sundogs finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play, although Denver fared no better at 0-for-4. Both teams fired 31 shots.
Arizona goalie David Brown of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, suffered the loss, stopping 28-of-30 shots, excluding the empty-netter. His record is now 6-8-1 with a 2.77 goals against average. He's lost four of his last five games.
At the other end, Cutthroats net minder Kent Patterson of Plymouth, Minn., was tough as nails, turning away 30 of the Sundogs' 31 shots to improve his record to 8-5-0 with a 2.92 GAA. He's won four of his last five contests.
With the loss, the Sundogs remained in eighth place in the 10-team Berry Conference with an 11-14-4 record (26 points). Meanwhile, expansion Denver is in third at 16-10-2 (34 points), five points out of first.
Chris Greene was playing his 11th game with Denver, after skating with Wichita the past two seasons. Greene was with the Sundogs from 2006-08.
After splitting two games with the Cutthroats, Arizona will return to Tim's for a three-game series against the fourth-place Bloomington (Ill.) Blaze (15-11-1, 31 points) starting at 7:05 p.m. Friday.